Type of Institution: Vegan
Address: Bishan Park 2, 1382 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
Tel: +65 6556 1533
Mon-Fri 11 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10pm
Sat, Sun, Eve of Public Holidays, Public Holidays: 11 am – 10 pm
(Please note that Green Room Cafe is currently closed for renovation. The review below was updated on 19 April 2013. The original review was written on 12 November 2011.)
I’ve seen Green Room Café undergo a series of interesting transformations since its opening. It first began as a vegetarian café, after which it was completely reinvented under the direction of Diana von Cranach to become a vegan café in 2011 with an emphasis on raw, “living” food prepared from locally grown herbs, vegetables, fruits, flowers, leaves, nuts and seeds typical of traditional Southeast Asian cuisines. (Raw veganism excludes all food of animal origin, and all food cooked above approximately 48 degrees Celsius, mainly for its purported health benefits (click here for more information).)
I went back to Green Room Café recently as I was on a raw food detox without realising that the menu had changed substantially once again. It was still vegan but there were only 3 raw options on the menu, as the raw food items weren’t quite popular with their customers. I thought this was a huge pity – raw food is so fascinating and the Singaporean food scene would definitely benefit if the raw movement picked up here.
The best thing I love about the Cafe is its beautiful setting within Bishan Park. The Cafe and its partner institutions from the Asmara Lifestyle Group are perfectly landscaped within the Park’s abundant greenery. This is the perfect place to come to particularly if you want to chill out on your own or if you want to have a casual lunch. I’ve easily whiled away a couple of hours at the café on a Saturday afternoon before, having a long, nourishing lunch and reading my book after – it was ideal relaxation.
Service was generally friendly and efficient, though I was misled into thinking one of the items was completely raw (most of it was). However, it would be nice to have more serving etiquette – a lot of the food came out all at once.
Also note that Green Room Cafe will provide you with the menu from next-door Canopy Garden Dining & Bar, which is an Australian style non-vegetarian cafe. This makes it easier to arrange to go to Green Room with friends who are not open to trying vegan food.
Berry Wholesome Salad (raw)
The extremely fresh mesclun greens and the light, sweet and tangy strawberry balsamic dressing were the understated highlights of this salad. Juicy orange slices, blueberries, dried cranberries, and crunchy curls of beetroot added sweetness while a few avocado slices provided a creamy, buttery contrast, with alfafa sprouts topping it all off. Recommended. ($10)
Warm Japanese Momen Tofu Salad
The best part about the tofu salad was the light yet still piquant wasabi dressing. It helped to inject much life into the dish, unlike the grilled teriyaki momen tofu, which had a great texture between that of silken tofu and firm tofu but whose mildly sweet flavour was underwhelming. The tofu was served with mesclun greens (similar to above), wakame seaweed, crunchy curls of beetroot and alfafa sprouts. ($10)
Rice Paper Samosa
In contrast to the typical samosas we are used to – oily, crunchy, deep-fried affairs made from puff pastry – these large rice paper samosas were made with spiced herbs, carrot and tender crisp green peas in a creamy coconut chutney, all wrapped up beautifully in a very thin, translucent rice paper skin. My only complaint was that the coconut chutney lacked flavour. The samosas were served atop a tangy salad made with bean sprouts, carrot, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage, sesame seeds and parsley. Recommended.
On a side note, I was told that this dish was raw but upon checking the packaging of the rice paper used, I was pretty sure it wasn’t since there’s steaming involved in the making of rice paper. ($10)
Zouni is essentially a Japanese soup containing mochi rice cakes, and is traditionally eaten by the Japanese on New Year’s Day, with its preparation varying widely depending on region. Green Room Café’s version was a simple and clear soup made from a flavourful konbu and shitake broth. I liked the addition of a shitake mushroom, fresh and silky spinach leaves, and the tender flower-shaped carrot slices, but I did not appreciate the strange, spongy texture of the fu (traditional Japanese wheat gluten). ($9)
Creamy Mushroom Soup
The mushroom soup had a very light and brothy soy milk base, which was disappointingly not creamy and called for a richer mushroom flavour. This was garnished with small mushroom chunks and some alfafa sprouts, and topped with a slightly chewy grissini. All in all, the dish was pleasant but could have been much better. ($9)
Fresh Corn & Miso Chowder (no longer available)
I loved this cold soup, which was slightly salty and made with creamy fresh corn and cashew, garnished with sweet papaya and herbs. I was very impressed by the slightly chewy “living” cracker on the side, which comes with all the soups. I fancied that the cracker had a tom yum flavour because of the infusion of many herbs and spices, but apparently the cracker was simply made of coconut that had been dried for an extended period of time… Amazing. ($10)
Pepes jamur is a traditional Indonesian dish made by wrapping seasoned mushrooms in a banana leaf and then steaming or grilling it. Green Room Café’s version consisted of steamed bunashimeji mushrooms that were spicy and rich in flavour, but the mushrooms were rather overcooked and too soft for my liking. This was served with well-cooked, multi-coloured organic rice, a small side salad with bean sprouts, carrot, and purple cabbage and parsley, as well as sweet and crunchy fried cashews. There was also a serving of cold, sweet and spicy tomato sauce on the side, but this stuck out like a sore thumb to me. ($14)
Living Vegetables & Herb Sausage (no longer available)
The spicy vegetables and herbs “sausages” employed a pretty expert use of herbs and spices but there seemed to be a slightly bitter aftertaste to the sausages. The “sausages” came with a mixed salad comprised of fresh red cabbage, sweet papaya shreds and other vegetables, topped off with a sweet and spicy red curry dressing. I was struggling to finish it because the dish was quite filling, since the bulk of it was made of chunky cashew bits (the waitress kindly offered to pack it for me so I could bring it home and have enough room left for dessert). ($19)
The Raspberry Rhapsody was a square of nut-based cheesecake coupled with a scoop of strawberry sherbet, sprinkled with dried cranberries and what appeared to be lavender flowers. I don’t want to be sexist, but if there ever was a feminine dessert this would certainly qualify. Unfortunately, the cheesecake did not impress in terms of both flavour and texture, though the strawberry sherbet had a lovely, delicate flavour. ($13)
Conclusion: Although it is disappointing that Green Room does not focus on raw food anymore, it is still worth a visit since it does a decent job of presenting nourishing vegan food in a variety of cuisines. The beautiful, peaceful setting is also a pull factor for me – I’ll definitely go back again for a relaxing lunch over the weekend.